Carlsberg has tightened its grip significantly on Laos’ beer market, which is almost completely shaped around the state-owned Lao Brewery. Lao Brewery’s beer enjoys a market share of 99 per cent – especially due to the highly popular brand, Beerlao, which is preferred by both the locals and the majority of backpackers and tourists, who come through Laos. The annual consumption is 20 liters per person living in Laos.
By buying 25 per cent of the former business partner from Thailand, Khun Charoen, Carlsberg Asia now owns 50 per cent of Lao Brewery, which naturally gives them access to the market in Laos. The competition authorities have not objected to the deal, since the other half of Lao Brewery is owned by the state of Laos. The brewery is modern and has been upgraded with an automatic brewing house and new tapping lines.
The executive director of Carlsberg Asia, Mr. Jesper B. Madsen, has already made it clear that Carlsberg is aiming at becoming the largest brewery group in Asia within five years. So far 2005 has been a good year to match these ambitions. Besides the new deal in Laos, Carlsberg also gained significant influence in North Vietnam’s beer market when they became the prime business partner of the state-run Habeco back in May.